Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Daisy's 8 Year Gallery

The 8 year gallery is a special one. This photo shoot is always done early (although you can't always tell by when it appears on the blog). There is a special shopping trip that is done before to make sure we have just the right dress for the occasion. Each little girl I have taken out is getting ready to make sacred covenants when she is baptized soon after. It is great to be eight. Look at these previous fun photo shoots: June, Robyn, and Ivory. Each dress and girl is unique in her own wonderful way. And so we come to Daisy. It was her turn.

Daisy knew just what she wanted at each turn. She picked the dress promptly, and chose a fun necklace to go with it. She knew she wanted pictures at the City Center Temple. The only tricky thing with her was the glasses. Her glasses had been damaged earlier and they didn't sit on her face correctly. It was close, but they were a tad crooked. Also, glasses bring glare. I'm fine taking pictures with glasses...I've been doing it for ages, but when you combine the two problems it gets ridiculous.

I would put Daisy in a pose. Then I would adjust her glasses so they weren't crooked. Next, I would step back to take a shot. I would tell her to tilt her head a certain way to minimize glare and then her glasses would slip back into their skewed stance. It was looking to be a very long photo shoot. So I took her glasses off. Photo shoots are supposed to be fun. All the tedious adjustments would have been...well...tedious. Instead, we had a great time. Daisy looks beautiful with or without her extra eyes.

Enjoy her lovely white dress gallery.

I grabbed a photo of the two of us as we left, but I obviously missed the temple in the background. Most likely, we had moved to the parking lot. You can't tell from the pictures, but it was crazy crowded the day we went there. I saw at least three brides walking around taking pictures.

We went out for a treat, as per tradition, although I was nervous since she was still in her dress. Here she is being walrus girl as we wait for our ice cream.

Yum. Lovely treat, lovely girl, lovely day!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Summer Swim Team

This Summer was great. We did a lot of things, but some things that we have done in the past didn't work quite as well. One of those things was stations. I had stations all planned as usual, and then Robyn joined swim team. That meant she was gone every morning. Add in our runner girl, June, who was gone most mornings, running with the cross country team. And Ivory had gymnastics two mornings a week. Stations were bound to fail from the beginning. Remember though, it is important to pick your battles. I was happy to let the stations slide. Piano is on hold right now, so practicing wasn't as necessary. The other thing I wanted them to focus on was reading, and we had a whole day devoted to the library, so I figured we would get through and not be the worse off at the end of summer. And I think the girls were better off for the activities they did during the summer. Check out Robyn:

She has never done swim team before. She had been swimming more in the spring, but she took a month off after she got her ears pierced. So I wasn't sure if she was going to do swim team, but she decided she would try it out.

I think it is great to be more active in the summer anyway, so I liked that she had practice every day. So did she...most days. Along with the daily practices, there were four meets during the summer. Robyn missed the first one because she was at Girls' Camp. She was a little nervous going to her first meet (which was actually the second one). She didn't know what was going on, and I wasn't there to help.

I pride myself on helping the kids and participating or attending all their big events. Unfortunately, swim meets fell exactly during the time that I was working at the library. I was so sad to miss her swimming, but I was proud of her for going and figuring everything out on her own. I think it made her more confident and responsible. I came home from the library after her first meet to find her beaming. Turns out she won!

I think she actually came in second overall in the backstroke, but she got first place in her heat. (Sweet! That's winning to me.) I asked how she did in freestyle (I guess they were supposed to compete in two events and she chose freestyle and backstroke) and she said, "I'm not sure, but I think I came in last." Once again, that wasn't quite accurate. She placed 8 out of 15. Her times:

Freestyle: 59.15
Backstroke: 1:01.72

Her second meet she did even better. She came in third overall in the backstroke, but still beat her last time.

Freestyle: 54.48
Backstroke: 58.87

Her final meet was on a Friday, so I was able to come!! In fact, we came back from Lake Powell to attend. That may have been a mistake. Turns out, it isn't easy to come back and swim after you have been playing a lot, learning to ski, and staying up late. Oops. But she was still such a trooper. We picked up her shirt on the last day.

Here she is diving in for freestyle. As you can see, some kids use the blocks, but others don't. Someone told me they liked Summer Rec Team because they learn to use the blocks, but I don't think they ever taught Robyn. She felt more comfortable not using them.

Keep swimming. You are almost there!

Then she waits for a bit until it is time for her second event.

I could tell she was pretty tired. But I was so proud of her for coming to the meet. And I was just happy to be there to see her swim.

She got fourth in backstroke, but you can tell she was feeling the previous few days from her slower times:

Freestyle: 58.07
Backstroke: 1:06.41

We went out for breakfast to celebrate her surviving the week. (And the summer of swimming) I think she is awesome. We went to IHOP. Yum. I promise she was more excited than she looks in this picture.

Robyn opted to not do swim team during the school year, because Jr. High is such a new experience, but I wouldn't be surprised to find her back in the water next summer.

Friday, August 26, 2016

NINE Planets (Before they kicked out Pluto)

Tyler left us for week nine. He took a whole group of boys to Scout Camp. He definitely had the harder week, also compounded by the car breaking down. But I'm not fooled. Although it took some cash to repair, the car should have been beyond saving. The mechanic said he had never seen a timing belt break without ruining the engine. Somehow we got lucky? Hardly. What a huge blessing. I believe Tyler going to camp and taking off a week from work to do his calling and benefit these boys was paying off in different ways. There are certainly tender mercies all around.

The girls and I were doing our regular week of packing in the activities. The week began with June doing a 5K. The Temple to Temple run is very popular. You don't have to pay unless you want a shirt or chip. (I got June the shirt.) I dropped her off and then took Ivory to gymnastics. I had enough time to get back to pick up June at the finish. (Don't be so surprised that I didn't run. Remember...the last one almost killed me.)

The temple to temple run is nice. Mostly downhill if I remember correctly. It was a lovely morning for a run. I hung around until I saw June run by. I think she sees me too!

She did a great job. She ran a little slower than her last 5K, but we had just gotten back from Lake Powell, and we were still recovering. I got a picture of her by the temple, and then we went to celebrate with Kolaches. (If you are close enough, they almost suck you in like a magnet. It is better not to resist.)

We went home to work on our craft. I was excited because I found this idea online and it was supposed to be easy and fun. Spoiler: It was NOT. We made confetti bowls. First thing...you need confetti. Now, you can probably find confetti at your local craft store, and I implore you to buy it, if you can find the right stuff. Confetti is usually crepe paper or glittery stuff and we wanted the construction paper variety, so we thought we would just make our own. That way, the kids could choose their own colors as well.

I totally underestimated the time it would take to punch out all those little circles. We borrowed hole punches from half the neighborhood, so we could all punch at once. But the time and effort was incredible.

Your hand starts to cramp after a while and several of the kids wore gloves to keep from getting blisters.

I finally had enough confetti to attempt a first and possibly second coat. This is the easy part. Put some modpodge on a balloon and sprinkle the confetti on top.

Let it dry and do a second coat. Maybe even a third, if you bought enough confetti or still have a hand left to punch out some more. Let it dry and it is time to pop the balloon.

The balloon peeled back nicely from the inside. It was pretty cool to watch.

You can see from this picture that despite the second coat, there were still some holes, but the glue holds everything together nicely.

Then trim the edges for a finished look and it makes the perfect...hat.

Or bowl. Over time it settles a little more. I don't feel like it kept a great bowl shape over the weeks.

June got the closest to finishing hers. She still wanted more confetti and ran out of the oomph to punch more. (I don't blame her one bit.) There are still several balloons with a smattering of confetti on them in the house. When is it okay to throw them away? I feel guilty though. I gave those kids hand cramps for no good reason.

Library day was fun as always. At the school library, all the kids came for the first time, since Robyn was finished with swimming. They entertained themselves making geometric patterns. (And probably reading some.)

At the public library, we were getting into a good routine. The kids found a good hangout and I could spot them easily from down below. (Yes, I have lost kids before. The library is big and there are many different places to read.)

Wednesday was swimming again. Oddly, that never got old.

Our treat of the week was Tiger Butter. Ever heard of it? I hadn't. Start with white chips. (Not my favorite.)

Add Peanut Butter. (Okay, it is getting better.)

Melt those together and pour them into a half sheet pan. (Thanks Curtis for helping us out. We always love it when Curtis stops by for games or activities.)

Now melt some chocolate chips and dish that on top. The recipe says to let the bottom layer chill and then add the chocolate later, but if you want to make the cool swirls, just pour it on right away. And take a kebab stick and swirl those layers together.

Now let it chill. It finished while I was out and I told the kids to cut it without me. June said it didn't cut well, so they just broke it like toffee. Works for me.

It was pretty tasty. Chocolately peanut buttery goodness. Recipe here.

Friday we went to a little carnival put on by our Orthodontist. It was a little cheesy, but the kids still had fun and it was a nice distraction for the day. There was rock climbing which everyone enjoyed.

Face painting is always a favorite.


Minute to Win it games.

Photo booth. And we ended with pineapple whips. (Not pictured, but highly tasty.)

And Saturday was the best day because Dad came home. Yay!! The girls helped him shave, although he wasn't too bristly. But it sure was good to have him back.